Is This the Library User of the Future? Heck Yes!

Is This the Library User of the Future? Heck Yes!.

I had a few extra minutes tonight, so I started reading the latest Newsweek that showed up in our mailbox. The cover story is Way Cool Phones: Is This the Computer of the Future? [June 7, 2004] I haven't gotten very far into the articles yet, but I'm already loving it. Favorite quotes so far:

“Between our mobile phones, our Blackberrys and Treos and our Wi-Fi'd computers, we're always on and always connected-and soon our cars and appliances will be too. While there's been considerable planning as to how people will use these tools and how they'll pay for them, the wonderful reality is that, as with the Internet, much of the action in the wireless world will ultimately emerge from the imaginative twists and turns that are possible when digital technology trumps the analog mind-set of telecom companies and government regulators.” [p.48]

“…[16-year old Adam Rappoport] also spends countless additional hours using his phone's Internet connection to check sports scores, download new ringtones (at a buck apiece) and send short messages to his friends' phones, even in the middle of class. 'I know the touch-tone pad on the phone better than I know a keyboard,' he says. 'I'm a phone guy.'

In Toyko, halfway around the world, Satoshi Koiso also closely eyes his mobile phone. Koiso, a college junior, lives in the global capital of fancy new gadgets–20 percent of all phones in Tokyo link to the fastest mobile networks in the world. Tokyoites use their phones to watch TV, read books and magazines and play games. But Koiso also depends on his phone for something simpler and more profound: an antismoking message that pops up on his small screen each morning as part of a program to help students kick cigarettes. 'Teachers struggle to stop smoking, too. You hang in there,' the e-mail says one day….

Sales of mobile phones dwarf the sales of televisions, stereos, even the hallowed personal computer. There are 1.5 billion cell phones in the world today, more than three times the number of PCs….

…'One day, 2 or 3 billion people will have cell phones, and they are all not going to have PCs,' says Jeff Hawkins, inventors of the Palm Pilot and the chief technology officer of PalmOne. 'The mobile phone will become their digital life.' ” [pp. 51-52]

There's also an interesting World Without Wires foldout that shows various technology scenarios in everyday life, somewhat like the Vodafone Future Site.

I'll post more excerpts as I finish reading this issue, but if you're trying to convince your administration why you need to install wireless and start discussing “shifting” your content, this is a good, mainstream starting point.  [The Shifted Librarian]

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